Transport Group Presents GIMME A BREAK! Honoring Douglas Carter Beane
Transport Group, the Drama Desk and OBIE award-winning theatre company, has announced that its 2011 Gimme A Break! benefit will honor playwright Douglas Carter Beane and composer/lyricist Lewis Flinn on Monday, December 5 at 6:30pm, at the Asia Society and Museum, 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street.
Gimme A Break! begins with a cocktail reception followed by a performance featuring Broadway stars sharing their ‘big break’ experiences through stories and songs. Messrs. Beane and Flinn will receive the Transporting American Theatre Award for their outstanding contributions to American theatre.
Julie Halston (The Divine Sister, Hairspray, Gypsy) will serve as the evening’s host—and the evening’s performers include Kerry Butler (Tony nominee – Xanadu), Jackie Hoffman (The Addams Family, Xanadu, Hairspray), Andrew Rannells (Tony nominee – The Book of Mormon), Andrew Samonsky (South Pacific, Queen of the Mist), Alexandra Silber (Master Class, Hello Again), and Mary Testa (two-time Tony nominee – On the Town, 42nd Street; Queen of the Mist).
Douglas Carter Beane wrote the book for Lysistrata Jones, which received critical acclaim for its New York debut with Transport Group and will open on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theater on December 14, 2011. Plays: The Little Dog Laughed (TONY and Olivier Nominations for Best Play, GLAAD Media Award), Mr & Mrs Fitch, As Bees in Honey Drown (Outer Critics Circle Gassner Award), Music From a Sparkling Planet, The Country Club, Advice From a Caterpillar, The Cartells, and the upcoming The Nance. Musicals: Xanadu (Outer Critics, HX, Drama Desk award for Best Book, Tony nomination for Best Book), Sister Act (Tony nomination for Best Book), The Big Time, The Bandwagon, and a soon-to-be-announced Rodgers and Hammerstein project. Revues: Mondo Drama and White Lies. Screenplays: Advice From a Caterpillar (Aspen Comedy Festival Best Feature); To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. As Artistic Director of Drama Dept., he produced more than 40 productions including revivals of As Thousands Cheer, June Moon and The Torchbearers, and world premieres by Paul Rudnick, David Sedaris and Wendy Wasserstein. He resides in NYC with his partner, Lewis Flinn, and their children Cooper and Gabrielle.
Lewis Flinn wrote the music and lyrics for Lysistrata Jones. Additional musical projects include The Divine Sister with Charles Busch, On Girl with Steven Sater, Like Love with Barry Kaplan (NYMF 2007), The Winner with Joe Sutton (the Lyric Stage, Dallas 2007), and Down There with Brian Crawley. He has also composed scores and songs for over 50 productions, including Douglas Carter Beane's Broadway play The Little Dog Laughed and Charles Busch’s Off-Broadway Die Mommie Die and The Third Story (MCC, La Jolla). Other theaters include Second Stage Theater, Atlantic Theater Company, MCC, South Coast Rep, Playwright's Horizons, Drama Dept., Lincoln Center Theatre, The Vineyard Theater, Geffen Playhouse (LA), Hartford Stage, Cleveland Play House, Old Glode, Primary Stages, adobe theatre co, and The Acting Company. In addition, he has been a guest artist at Cornell, Dartmouth, and Princeton University. In the world of TV and film, he recently wrote the themes and music for several primetime shows and numerous national commercials. A longtime collaborator with fashion designer Zang Toi, he has composed and performed runway music for over 14 collections. He was lead singer and songwriter for the 90's jazz/rock band Acoustic Blue.
Julie Halston is one of the busiest actress/comediennes working today. She was recently seen in the hit off-Broadway play Love, Loss and What I Wore, written by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron. On network television, she starred in the CBS sitcom The Class, but is most recognized as Bitsy Von Muffling from Sex and The City. Younger viewers may know her as Antigone Carruthers on the new PBS show The Electric Company. Well-known to theatre audiences, she was last seen on Broadway in Hairspray after receiving rave reviews (as well as receiving Drama Desk and Drama League nominations) for her performance in William Hamilton’s White Chocolate. She received an Outer Critics Circle nomination for her performance in The Roundabout’s production of Twentieth Century. Other Broadway credits include Gypsy, The Women, and The Man Who Came to Dinner. Off-Broadway credits include acclaimed performances in The Vagina Monologues, The Butter and Egg Man and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. Miss Halston’s one woman show, Julie Halston’s Lifetime of Comedy which was developed from her wildly successful club act, ran off-Broadway for six months and received an Outer Critics Circle Nomination for Best Comedy. CBS developed a pilot based on the play. She is also a regular at the Bay Street Theatre appearing most recently in the Charles Busch comedies Shanghai Moon and The Lady in Question. Last year Ms. Halston, with the assistance of the director Daniel Goldstein, developed the play Miss Margarida’s Way. It was produced by Bay Street Theatre, with a subsequent presentation at New York Theatre Workshop. Her smash one woman comedy show has extended at Birdland in NYC four times. Her film credits include The Juror, Joe Gould’s Secret, Addams Family Values, Dottie Gets Spanked, Celebrity, and David Searching. She can be seen in Charles Busch’s latest film A Very Serious Person which was selected for the Tribeca Film Festival. In January of 2008, Julie co-authored the well-received book of original monologues, Monologues for Show-Offs, published by Heinemann Press. Last year, she starred in Charles Busch’s new comedy The Divine Sister at the Soho Playhouse for which she received a Drama Desk Award nomination.
Founded in 2001, Transport Group, under the leadership of Jack Cummings III, Artistic Director, and Lori Fineman, Executive Director, is a not-for-profit theatre company that stages new works and re-imagined revivals by American writers. Their visually progressive productions of emotionally classic stories explore the challenges of relationships and identity in America. Transport Group is the winner of a special Drama Desk Award for its “breadth of vision and its presentation of challenging productions.” Transport Group presented its premiere production in 2002: Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, which featured older actors in the roles of Emily and George and a twelve-year-old girl as the Stage Manager. Its second production, Requiem for William, an evening of seven seldom produced plays by William Inge, that featured a cast of 26 as well as original songs, premiered in 2003. In 2004 the company presented the first New York revival of Michael John LaChiusa’s First Lady Suite, which received rave reviews, played to sold-out houses, and earned two Drama Desk Award nominations including Outstanding Revival of a Musical. Other productions include the world premiere of the musical The Audience, which featured a cast of 46 actors and earned three Drama Desk Award nominations, including Outstanding Musical; Normal, a new musical about a mother’s battle to save her daughter from anorexia; cul-de-sac, a new play by Tony Award nominee John Cariani; the first New York revival of Tad Mosel’s Pulitzer Prize play, All the Way Home; the 50th anniversary, OBIE-winning production of William Inge’s The Dark at the Top of the Stairs; the world premiere musicals Crossing Brooklyn, Marcy in the Galaxy, and Being Audrey, and the first New York revival of Irwin Shaw’s Bury the Dead. Both First Lady Suite and Bury the Dead were filmed for the New York Performing Arts Library’s Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at Lincoln Center. In 2010 Transport Group presented a sold-out, extended engagement of Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band, which received an OBIE Award and was nominated for five 2010 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Revival of a Play—the most for an off-Broadway play. Transport Group’s productions of See Rock City and Other Destinations by Brad Alexander and Adam Mathias, and Hello Again by Michael John LaChiusa combined for eleven 2011 Drama Desk Award nominations and one win. Transport Group’s production of Lysistrata Jones, by Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn, opened to rave reviews, played to sell-out houses, and transferred to Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre on November 12. Its most recent production, Michael John LaChiusa’s Queen of the Mist played an extended, critically-acclaimed run. The company most recently completed a critically acclaimed run of The Patsy and Jonas at The Duke on 42nd Street, starring OBIE winner David Greenspan. For more information about Transport Group visit www.transportgroup.org.